There is something special about British Columbia and I felt it when I landed in Vancouver on Tuesday night. The city has a pioneer spirit to it; it seems a little rougher than most while maintaining a charm at the same time.
Considered to be Canada’s get away to the Pacific Rim; it has the country largest port and is a center for filmmaking, sometimes called “Hollywood North”… It’s a happening place.
Vancouver has also expanded as a center for software development and biotechnology and the constant influx of top quality Chinese brainpower helps a lot in the development of these sectors.
“Where is home for you?” asked the lady at car rental desk hearing my foreign accent and looking at my Canadian ID and Swiss credit card. “It’s becoming harder to say as the time passes by,” I replied. She didn’t react to the joke, just looked at me and said – “then think about it hard, it is important to know.”
When I arrived at the Best Western hotel in a big Jeep Sahara, I saw that someone parked a beautiful Indian Dark Horse motorcycle under my window, and just looking at it made my evening.
“Damn it, this guy is going to be riding this bike down on route 101, El Camino Real as they call it, through Oregon and Washington and I have to go to work tomorrow”.
Some guys have all the luck.
Over breakfast I was watching the news, which was dominated but the fact that both, bonds and stocks are getting weak in the knees. “What happened to the flight to quality, why they’re both going down at the same time?” asked the clean shaved man on national TV looking very concerned.
Well, I’ll tell you why, sir. It used to be that you couldn’t use bonds for collateral to trade stock. After this changed, it’s all interconnected. You buy government bonds and post them to trade stocks. If the bonds go down, the bank will do a margin call asking you to post more money. The only way for you to do that is to sell stock. This is how the machine fuels itself.
British Columbia is an interesting place to be for one other reason: the province's inexpensive hydroelectric power and abundance of water and sunshine—the many hills and forests make it an ideal area to grow cannabis on a massive scale. It is an estimated $6 billion a year industry for the province. Well, now the big moment comes – as of October 17th pot will be legalized in Canada. It was just a matter of time that someone got the idea to tax this business. So a lot will change but regulations are good for business, as are sealed boarders. The legalization of pot means that taxes will be syphoned out until it stops being profitable, never mind exciting. Some people like the kick of being on the edge of the law, you will never get rid of them and they make the world move around.
So I was at this “White Spot” restaurant in Burnaby and a man comes up to me. “Need a joint? It will not be the same a week from now.”
“I drink, one vice at a time.”
“Honest to god,” he said before lighting up, “last chance, like BCer to BCer.”
Didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’m from Poland.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler